Jul 20th, 2014
Well not proper south – south Scotland. My parents live in Dumfries and Galloway near Castle Douglas. It is a beautiful and unspoilt part of the world; not as ‘drop dead in your face gorgeous’ as the Highlands, but lovely rolling countryside with deserted lochs and low forested hills. In fact it always reminds me of the Cumbrian Lake District (where I grew up) rather than Scotland proper, with the exception that while places like Windermere and Keswick are always mobbed with tourists, particularly at this time of year, the ‘Glen Kens’ as this area is called is always very peaceful and empty.
The little village my parents live in is also very pretty and quaint and you can walk straight out of the back of the house and down to Loch Struan (about a mile away) down an abandoned railway line. The line used to run from Castle Douglas to Stranraer via Gatehouse of Fleet until it was closed in the 1960;s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatehouse_of_Fleet_railway_station Walking along the line is quite evocative and sad – particularly the old abandoned station at Skerrow. You can imagine what it would have been like with the steam trains huffing past – but now it is silent and more decayed every time we pass it. There is another railway story related to the village, that in the 1930s the royal train stopped there and Edward VIII got out on the platform at Parton. He gave the station porter a shilling with his own head on it – but later it was lost in the village. I keep meaning to look for it with a metal detector – it would be a real piece of history if we could find it.
So R and I walked down to the loch and I took some photos and a short video which I will add in as a separate post. Along the way I ate quite a few wild strawberries (R doesn’t do eating anything that grows wild), and at the loch we saw some little frogs. It was also quite interesting to see that the selection of plants and flowers is a bit different down here, and also that summer is considerably further advanced, for example the hawthorne has berries on it here – whereas back in Argyll it is still in flower.